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Statistical Literacy & Training Users

Data Visualization Support Roles

Hello IASSISTers,

Since our last entry, the Data Visualization Working Group (DVIG) has been connecting through email to gather information and share knowledge about data visualization tools, best practices, teaching, and events of interest. A major theme of conversation has been open source programming frameworks like R statistical packages to conduct visualization.  Many other non-programming tools have also been discussed and shared. The question of tools is not an easy one, and there are a lot out there!

For a list of tools (not comprehensive) see: DVIG Tool list (opens in Pearl Trees)

What are we doing with visualization?

Some members are considering licensing software for their institutions, including licensed software such as Tableau (http://www.tableausoftware.com/). Others are considering adding visualization features to existing data repositories or portals, while others are considering these for upcoming data collections and repository development. A discussion about the creation of a blog series related to experiences with different repository software has been mentioned, as well as, a list of criteria for discerning between licensed software and repository systems. Many are concerned about the scalability of tools and are interested in the application of visualization techniques across disciplines and groups.

Now, there are a lot of ways to visualize data. The following diagram describes the process of creating and making sense of visualizations, and might be helpful for our discussions and understanding.

Process – Information Workflow

 

Taken from: Aisch, Gregory. Using Data Visualization to Find Insights in Data. Data Journalism Handbook, Open Knowledge Foundation. http://datajournalismhandbook.org/1.0/en/understanding_data_7.html . 2014-07-11.

Regardless of where we are at, we are all in agreement that data visualization is COOL! And it needs support. Unfortunately the skills needed to perform data visualization and “data wrangling” projects are not taught widely in higher education, however, some institutions have made strides to develop these core skills and training and others are now developing curriculum. 

Here is a short list of current courses and teaching materials:

University of Washington, Data Visualization (winter 2014)

New York University, Certificate in Data Visualization

Columbia University, Data Visualization

University of Kansas, Managing Research Data in the Social Sciences (incl data wrangling) (summer 2014)

University of British Columbia, Information Visualization

University of Toronto, Big Data Analytics (fall 2014)

A major theme at this past IASSIST Conference was data support roles. Data visualization topics such as R programming package, developing library support services, teaching tools and undergraduate pedagogy, current research, were very well attended. The IASSIST community is engaged in Data Visualization at almost all stages of the process workflow (see above).

Libraries can play an important role in supporting researchers…

Libraries serve as an ideal place on campus to support visualization for a number of reasons. Data visualization is a truly interdisciplinary activity seeing a growing importance in a wide variety of fields. Even the techniques involved draw on diverse fields from statistics to computer science to design. As such an interdisciplinary field and on that benefits so many diverse fields, visualization has a natural home in the library. Rather than individual disciplines developing support, knowledge and tools for visualization these advances can be shared across campus by making the library a central point of visualization activities.

Furthermore, providing support for data visualization in the library can amplify other data related activities. As libraries increasingly move to collecting, managing and preserving complex datasets offering services that can assist in making sense of that data will make it all the more valuable. Moreover, visualization services provide additional opportunities to inform researchers of support for research and data within libraries.

Data Viz at University of Michigan Libraries

At the University of Michigan we are in the process of developing our services to support visualization. Historically our support for data visualization has developed in two different parts of the library. Both our 3D Lab (part of our Digital Media Commons group) and our Spatial and Numeric Data Services (SAND – Part of the Clark Library for Maps, Government Information and Data Services) have supported and continue to support various types of data visualization, mapping and working with complex types of data. In SAND, where I am located, we focus primarily on helping researchers, students and faculty through consultations where we teach people techniques and how to use appropriate software rather than producing finished products. While we all have our favorite pieces of software we attempt to balance our patron’s familiarity and the most effective software for their goals. We also offer open workshops and course instruction on various data visualization and mapping topics.

While we would ideally like to be able to support the entire spectrum of data visualization activities, one of the most challenging aspects of supporting visualization is providing a scalable service or at least supporting a variety of scales to best benefit one’s campus. Providing consultations around producing graphs and charts for presentations and publications seems easily within the scope and scale of traditional library consultations, but providing production services and assisting with large scale projects such as the creation of interactive web environments or visualizing terabytes of data often requires more time and effort that we usually have to devote to individual projects. Still, libraries, in providing a space for whatever assistance is possible and helping researchers and students understand the resources required for a given project, can offer an invaluable service to our campus communities.

Supported projects at the University of Michigan:

19th Century Acts - http://19thcenturyacts.com/

Mapping Moby Dick - http://record.umich.edu/articles/technology-meets-literature-students-map-classic-novel

 

Many thanks for all the collaboration on the DVIG list, 

Amber Leahey (University of Toronto) & Justin Joque (University of Michigan)

Registration for the Data Information Literacy Symposium is now open

Please join us for the Data Information Literacy Symposium at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, on September 23rd, and 24th 2013. 

Program:  This symposium will explore roles for practicing librarians in teaching competencies in data management and curation to graduate students.  With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, librarians from Purdue University, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon have investigated this topic through developing and implementing “data information literacy” (DIL) instruction programs for graduate students in a range of science and engineering disciplines. 

Members of the DIL project will share their experiences in working with faculty and graduate students, with a primary focus on the practical applications of their work.  Keynote speakers will provide additional perspectives on teaching data literacy competencies.  A portion of the conference will be devoted to further exploration of selected topics of interest as determined by attendees.

Outcomes: Attendees will acquire an understanding of current issues in teaching data management and curation competencies to students.   Through presentations, discussions and hands-on activities, attendees will develop strategies for creating their own instructional programs suitable for the needs of their students and faculty.    

Intended audience: Academic librarians and others who are providing research data management instruction for students, or librarians who are interested in doing so. 

Poster Session: Attendees who have developed educational initiatives, crafted resources, or conducted research in this area are invited to submit materials for a poster session, which will be held at the pre-symposium reception on Sunday, September 22nd. Attendees will be provided with information on how to submit a poster after they have registered for the symposium.

Registration: Registration for the event is now open at:  http://www.conf.purdue.edu/data.  There is no registration fee, but the attendance is limited to the first 80 individuals that register.  After that, you may request to be placed on the waiting list.

To follow the event on Twitter and all updates from the DIL project, please search the hashtag #datainfolit.  Updates from the event will be posted throughout the day September 23-24.

More information about the Data Information Literacy Project can be found at the project’s website:  http://datainfolit.org  

Please contact Jake Carlson, Data Services Specialist at Purdue University with any questions: jakecarlson@purdue.edu.

 

Introducing the IASSIST Data Visualization Interest Group (DVIG!)

Hello fellow IASSISTer’s

     With the upcoming 2013 Conference nearing, we thought it very fitting to introduce you all to the newly created IASSIST Data Visualization Interest Group. Formed over the winter and now spring of 2013, this group brings together over 46 IASSIST members from across the world (literally across-the-world! check out the map of our locations), who are all interested in data visualization.  We hope to share a range of skills and information around tools, best practice visualization, and discuss innovative representations of data, statistics, and information. Here is just a glimpse of our group’s tools exposure.

    As research becomes more interdisciplinary and data and information are more readily used and reused, core literacies surrounding the use and understandability of data are required. Data Visualization supports a means to make sense of data, through visual representation, and to communicate ideas and information effectively. And, it is quickly becoming a well-developed field not only in terms of the technology (in the development of tools for analyzing and visualizing data), but also as an established field of study and research discipline. As data and information professionals, we are required to stay abreast of the latest technologies, disciplines, methods and techniques, used for research in this data-intensive and changing research landscape. Data Visualization, with its many branches and techniques seeks to present data, information, and statistics in new ways, ways that our researchers are harnessing with the use of high-powered computers (and sometimes not so high-powered) to perform analysis of data.  From conventional ways to visualize and graph data – such as tables, histograms, pie charts, and bar and line graphs, to the often more complex network relationship models and diagrams, cluster and burst analysis, and text analysis charts; we see data visualization techniques at play more than ever. 

This group has set a core mission and charge to focus on promoting a greater understanding of data visualization – its creation, uses, and importance in research, across disciplines.  Particular areas of focus include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Enable opportunities for IASSIST members to learn and enhance their skills in this growing field;
  • Support a culture of best practice for data visualization techniques; creation, use, and curation;
  • Discussion of the relevant tools (programs, web tools, and software) for all kinds of data visualizations (spatial, temporal, categorical, multivariate, graphing, networks, animation, etc.);
  • Provide input and feedback on data visualization tools;
  • Capture examples of data visualization to emulate and avoid;
  • Explore opportunities for service development in libraries;
  • Be aware of and communicate to others the needs of researchers in this field;
  • Use of data visualization for allowing pre-analysis browsing of data content in repositories
  • Connect with communities of metadata developers and users (e.g., DDI Alliance) to gain better understanding of how metadata can enable better visualization, and how in turn visualization need might drive development of metadata standards.
  • And more!

Please join me in welcoming this new interest group, and we hope to share and learn from you all at the upcoming conference! We are always seeking input and to share ideas, please get in touch with us at iassist-dataviz@lists.carleton.edu (either myself or another member can add you to the group).

All the best, and Happy Easter!

Amber Leahey

Teaching integrity in empirical research: a soup to nuts protocol

Great work by Richard Ball, an Economics professor at Haverford College and Norm Medeiros, a Haverford librarian. I'm already planning to incorporate their protocol into my formal and informal data literacy instruction. I highly recommend a visit to their website: Teaching integrity in empirical research: a soup to nuts protocol

They've also published a paper on their work. Here's the abstract:

This article describes a protocol the authors developed for teaching undergraduates to document their statistical analyses for empirical research projects so that their results are completely reproducible and verifiable. The protocol is guided by the principle that the documentation prepared to accompany an empirical research project should be sufficient to allow an independent researcher to replicate easily and exactly every step of the data management and analysis that generated the results reported in a study. The authors hope that requiring students to follow this protocol will not only teach them how to document their research appropriately, but also instill in them the belief that such documentation is an important professional responsibility.

Data can be cool

As I prepare to leave Guelph there are lots of things I will miss - but what I will maybe miss most is the Data Resource Centre and the creative people who work there.   If you link to the picasa album below you will see some awesome posters they have made to showcase services and bring people into the world of Data and GIS. The images on some of the posters are really powerful....

posters on picasa

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